Local media are saying that the Miami Dolphins trip to San Diego could be a fruitful one. They say that the Chargers are primed to be beat and that the Fins match up well enough to be the team to do it. After last weeks loss to the Cleveland Browns, it seems more like a pipe dream than a reality. Can these Miami Dolphins fly out to Cali and knock down the San Diego Super Chargers?
The Chargers are two and one on the season and have barely escaped a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Their lone loss was to New England. In his time as head coach of the Chargers, former Miami Dolphins OC Norv Turner has never had an above .500 September. The Dolphins will try and make sure that doesn’t happen.
Focus this week will once again be on the defense as the Dolphins will face Pro-Bowl QB Phillip Rivers and star wide-out Vincent Jackson. The Chargers will be without their Pro-Bowl TE Antonio Gates. His job will fall to former Dolphins TE Randy McMichael. Yes he is still around and considering how well the Dolphins cover TE’s these days, you may want to add him to your fantasy team this week.
For all the talk about Rivers it should be noted that aside from his attempts and completions, Chad Henne actually has comparable or slightly better stats. Rivers leads yardage as well but he has thrown almost twenty times more. Both QB’s average 7.8 yards per attempt and both have 4 touchdown passes. Yes that’s correct…Phillip Rivers only has 4 TD’s. He also has 6 INT’s to Henne’s 3.
The defense of Miami will still have their hands full with Rivers working with Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd and well as containing bowling ball Mike Tolbert and the re-energized Ryan Mathews. The Bolts can spread their offense out with the talent they have so the Dolphins will need to figure out how to apply pressure to collapse the pocket and force Rivers to make throws he doesn’t want to make. If they can do that, they will win this game. So far they haven’t come close to getting pressure on opposing QB’s.
I suspect this week we will see more safety and corner blitzes and Mike Nolan tries to find a way to get pressure.
Offensively, the Dolphins need to keep doing what they are doing and find a way to turn redzone opportunities into touchdowns. Henne has been excellent moving the ball this year and has yet to make a critical mistake in the meat of the game. He need to figure out how to close the game when it’s on the line. Something he hasn’t done yet.
As is the case with most teams that struggle, the inability to convert redzone opportunities leaves fans and players wondering what it takes to get it done. I think Henne needs to stop trying to force feed the ball to Marshall in the close quarters between the twenty yardline and the endzone and start working on getting the ball to the open man.
The other key for the Dolphins offense will be the running of Daniel Thomas. Thomas, who missed the first week against New England, has exploded the last two games and fans are starting to ask “Ronnie who?”. Of course as long as the Dolphins are not winning, it won’t matter who is running the ball. Thomas needs to work on his protecting the ball when he runs and Sparano needs to do a much better job keeping Thomas in the game late when he wear down the opposing defense instead of pulling him out and replacing him with Lex Hilliard.
As for Reggie Bush, well who knows. The Dolphins talked a good game in regards to how they would use him and so far, we haven’t seen it. Rarely are both Bush and Thomas in the back-field and rarely do we see Bush on the outside. If the Dolphins want to start winning, Bush has to become a bigger part of the Dolphins offense.
So can the Dolphins win this Sunday? Well as they say, “Any given Sunday…” We will see.